Adapting to COVID-19 with Immersive Case-Based Learning

21 Jul

Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASAs, are vital to the wellbeing of children in the child welfare system. Their volunteer training program is crucial to their ability to help support and advocate for children.

This year, Texas CASA had a critical training challenge:

  • Move face-to-face training to a self-paced online learning experience
  • Mimic in the new training the critical thinking, self-evaluation, and peer-to-peer sharing common in face-to-face training
  • Improve content cognition, recall, and application 
  • Develop thought-provoking activities

…And do it all in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Texas CASA has worked with Enspire before, so they called on us to help them meet the challenge. We developed an immersive online learning experience that focused on the key social, economic, and mental health issues that CASA clients face, which may trigger bias in the CASA worker. The result was a mixed-media course that helped CASA volunteers identify their own biases, adjust their own behaviors, and focus solely on the needs and issues directly affecting the wellbeing of the child in their care.

Learning topics include:

  • Mental Health 
  • Perceptions, Challenges, Risks, and Barriers associated with Poverty
  • Poverty vs Child Abuse/Neglect
  • Class Bias
  • Domestic Violence
  • Confidentiality and Professional Communication
  • Best Practices and Requirements

Enspire created immersive case studies to pull the learner into the lessons. The multi-format/multimedia training combined training elements to bring the story to life:

  • Video interviews with case managers, parents, family, neighbors, landlords, and children painted a complete scenario filled with facts, emotions, risks, and a little humor
  • On-screen documents, court papers, and filings, to provide background information and context
  • Q&A sessions with on-screen characters to gain deeper knowledge on aspects of the case study
  • On-screen notebooks allowing for note-taking and report creation
  • Access to prework and online games
  • Knowledge checks with immediate feedback for correct and incorrect responses
  • Intuitive navigation, and flexible navigation to allow learners to follow their interests through the content

The final solution was an online learning experience that mimicked the critical thinking, self-evaluation, and peer-to-peer sharing that goes on in a F2F workshop/conference by wrapping the content in engaging storytelling and thought-provoking interactivities. Enspire used stock and custom photos, original live-action video, green screen, and SFX, to create the experience, and did it all within the confines of COVID limitations.

 Here’s what the client had to say:  “WOW — these look really phenomenal. The actors ROCKED it! Y’all did such an awesome job of casting and directing, and the backdrops look great — amazing to see that you could put together such a beautiful product despite the circumstances being what they are. I think the CASA staff interviews are edited together really skillfully as well.”

Craig Dadoly

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